Working environment of state and municipal employees

The role of state and municipal employees is to provide important and statutory services where public interests are at the forefront. Co-ordinated services must be ensured and that workplaces and the jobs develop in the context of society and development of knowledge.

Studies show that employees in welfare services experience worse physical and mental health and reduced job satisfaction compared to those in other professions. Moreover, accident frequency has been measured the highest in the public service arena, particularly in the police department. It has repeatedly been pointed out that one of the best ways to prevent this is to combat excessive overwork and improve staffing and the support for management and their training.

In order to ensure dynamic public services of high quality, it is important that employees are always provided with the best possible working environment where safety, knowledge, mutual respect, communication, professionalism and good health are kept at the forefront. Flexibility and opportunity must be provided for employees in order for them to develop their skills and knowledge with dynamic life-long learning, and it must be ensured that they have working conditions that enable them to perform their work in a professional and high-quality manner. Employees in training shall receive wages.

BSRB places emphasis on the authorities establishing a clear policy on the organisation of work, communication, working hours and working environment with the goal of ensuring the mental and physical health of the employees. The main focus will be on how to prevent an unhealthy workload and unhealthy communication and behaviour. Moreover, how it will be ensured that managers have the knowledge and skills needed to work toward these set goals.

BSRB wants a regular comprehensive analysis with risk assessment of operating practices of workplaces and facilities of wage earners be carried out and that follow-up of the assessment be ensured. It is necessary to meet the staffing need that has been created after the implementation of better working hours, whereas the pressure in a few divisions has increased excessively.

Flexibility and reconciliation of work and private life must always be paramount in order to promote a more family friendly society and prevent pressure and stress. Research shows that the more people are able to reconcile work and family life, the better their mental and physical health. The experience has shown, however, that there is a risk that increased flexibility results in the boundary between work and home becoming increasingly blurred. This must be addressed with a clear right to disconnect and that the rights and facilities of employees who work remotely will be negotiated in collective agreements.

Shortening of the working week

The shortening of the working week is a basic requirement of BSRB and an important part of creating a more family friendly society that is based on the reconciliation of work and family life. The shortening of the working week to 35 hours for daytime work, and that the working week of shift workers becomes 80% of the working hours of daytime workers without wage reduction, must be implemented in collective agreements.

A shorter working week results in increased job satisfaction and increased performance, less stress due to the reconciliation of work and family life and improved health and well-being. It also promotes increased equality in responsibility for household and care work, an increase in women’s employment participation and decreased possibility of women pursuing only part-time work due to family responsibilities.

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